NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) 19990010022: Flammability of Heterogeneously Combusting Metals
Publication date 1998-09-01
Topics NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS), HETEROGENEITY, METAL COMBUSTION, FLAMMABILITY, BURNING RATE, MATHEMATICAL MODELS, SLAGS, DATA REDUCTION, PRESSURE DEPENDENCE, PROPAGATION VELOCITY, HEAT TRANSFER, Jones, Peter D.,
Most engineering materials, including some metals, most notably aluminum, burn in homogeneous combustion. 'Homogeneous' refers to both the fuel and the oxidizer being in the same phase, which is usually gaseous. The fuel and oxidizer are well mixed in the combustion reaction zone, and heat is released according to some relation like q(sub c) = delta H(sub c)c[((rho/rho(sub 0))]exp a)(exp -E(sub c)/RT), Eq. (1) where the pressure exponent a is usually close to unity. As long as there is enough heat released, combustion is sustained. It is useful to conceive of a threshold pressure beyond which there is sufficient heat to keep the temperature high enough to sustain combustion, and beneath which the heat is so low that temperature drains away and the combustion is extinguished. Some materials burn in heterogeneous combustion, in which the fuel and oxidizer are in different phases. These include iron and nickel based alloys, which burn in the liquid phase with gaseous oxygen. Heterogeneous combustion takes place on the surface of the material (fuel). Products of combustion may appear as a solid slag (oxide) which progressively covers the fuel. Propagation of the combustion melts and exposes fresh fuel. Heterogeneous combustion heat release also follows the general form of Eq.(1), except that the pressure exponent a tends to be much less than 1. Therefore, the increase in heat release with increasing pressure is not as dramatic as it is in homogeneous combustion. Although the concept of a threshold pressure still holds in heterogeneous combustion, the threshold is more difficult to identify experimentally, and pressure itself becomes less important relative to the heat transfer paths extant in any specific application. However, the constants C, a, and E(sub c) may still be identified by suitable data reduction from heterogeneous combustion experiments, and may be applied in a heat transfer model to judge the flammability of a material in any particular actual-use situation. In order to support the above assertions, two investigations are undertaken: 1) PCT data are examined in detail to discover the pressure dependence of heterogeneous combustion experiment results; and 2) heterogeneous combustion in a PCT situation is described by a heat transfer model, which is solved first in simplified form for a simple actual-use situation, and then extended to apply to PCT data reduction (combustion constant identification).
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